Ashes to Ashes (1999) Production Files

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Identifier: ASHES1999
Inclusive Dates: 1996 - 1999
Roundabout Theatre Company produced a New York premiere of Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes at the Gramercy Theatre, with first preview on January 19, opening night February 7, and closing night April 25, 1999. 

Amy Gamerman, writing for The Wall Street Journal, said "I think Mr. Pinter wannts us to be confused. Perhaps his point is that in a world where atrocities can take place somewhere, no one is immune anywhere. The logical orderliness of our safe world is an illusion. But whatever is wrapped inside its enigma, 'Ashes to Ashes' is thoroughly compelling." (WSJ, February 10, 1999)

Directed by Karel Reisz, with set and costume design by Tony Walton, lighting design by Richard Pilbrow, and sound design by Tom Clark.

Lindsay Duncan played the part of Rebecca and David Strathairn played the part of Devlin. Kate Skinner was the standby for Rebecca, Kent Broadhurst the standby for Devlin.
Ashes to Ashes premiered at Toneelgroep Amsterdam (in Dutch) in 1996, directed by Titus Muizelaar. The play's English premiere took place at London's Royal Court Theatre, also in 1996, directed by Harold Pinter.

Pinter wrote Ashes to Ashes over a period of ten days after reading a biography of Albert Speer, who was one of Hitler's favorite architects and responsible for designing the slave-labor factories in Nazi Germany. Pinter said "I was struck by the fact that he was a very civilized man and that he was horrified by what he saw when he visited the factories.That image stayed with me. Reading the book triggered lost of associations. I've always been haunted by the image of the Nazis picking up babies on bayonette spikes and throwing them out of windows. I wasn't sitting around thinking I must write a play about all of this...but something instantly happened, I started writing as usual on a yellow pad with two characters called A (a man) and B (a woman) and the first line originally was him asking her 'What kind of things?' I simply took it from there, I had to find out more about who these characters were." [The Life and Work of Harold Pinter, by Michael Billington]
Production files consist of one Hollinger box with 15 folders, with two Playbills, 3 direct mail flyers, ticket stock and black and white cast and crew photograph. A good amount of production documentation is present, including prompt script, select stage manager's notes and correspondence with Harold Pinter.

Oversize drawings include 8 pages of revised set elevations.

Digital files include:

Black and white images from Pinter panel discussion (on disc)
B-Roll footage (mastered to MP4)
Audio file interview with Mel Gussow and Martin Puchner (MP3)
Opening Night contact sheets (black and white, TIF)
Scanned Playbill (jpgs)
Select production photographs (jpgs and TIF)
Prop List
Show Art (poster design as TIF and PDF)
Stage Managers Documents (include select rehearsal reports, memos, facilities needs, etc. all in Word)

Access Restrictions: Open and available for research by appointment only.
Preferred Citation: Ashes to Ashes (1999), Roundabout Theatre Company Archives
Related Staged Production

Ashes to Ashes